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Why 2020 Will be LB Jaylon Smith’s Best Season yet With Cowboys

Jaylon Smith back to his more natural position, weak side linebacker.

Entering his fifth year with the Dallas Cowboys and fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Jaylon Smith will be returning to a role similar to what he played during his time at Notre Dame. Smith is making the switch from middle to weak side linebacker under new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan, and it’s a change that should help No. 54 take his game to an entirely different level.

As an All-American and Butkus Award winner (given to the best LB in collegiate football), Jaylon Smith was a versatile chess piece for the Fighting Irish defense. He was equally dominant as a sideline to sideline player, a pass rusher, or dropping into coverage. It’s more than likely the same thing Mike Nolan has in mind for him as the Cowboys new WILL LB.

As good as Jaylon Smith has been as the Cowboys MIKE LB the past several seasons, I don’t think it’s going to be anything like what we see from him as the WILL. I’ve always believed that this was his more natural position and as such I’m expecting big things from him in 2020. In fact, I think he’s going to have his best season yet in Dallas.

Jaylon Smith
Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

Superstardom isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Smith this year. His ability to chase down ball carriers from sideline to sideline or cover them in coverage will be an asset to the Cowboys defense. Where he’s really going to shine though is as a blitzer, something he’s already proven more than capable of as the MIKE.

To date, No. 54 has racked up 7.5 quarterback sacks in his three years as a MIKE LB with the Dallas Cowboys. I wouldn’t be surprised if he surpasses or comes close to equaling that number just this season after the position switch. And that’s exactly what I believe Mike Nolan has in mind.

I could be completely wrong, but I think Jaylon Smith has a very good chance of being the Dallas Cowboys best defensive player this year. A lot of it has to do with him moving to his more natural position, there’s also a lot to say for the talent he has around him. He has never had a front seven like the Cowboys do now and that alone should help him tremendously.

I don’t know if you agree or not, but I really think Jaylon Smith is going to have his best season yet with the Dallas Cowboys. Now all he has to do is go out there and prove me right.

What kind of year do you think Jaylon Smith will have in 2020?

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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  1. I think it’s possible Brian, the only thing I be yet den from him is a true gift as a pass rusher. To my eyes, so far he hasn’t shown the ability to disengage from a block as a pass rusher. His doors allows him to be a good delayed-blitzed who can shoot gaps quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to being a great pass rusher. How he proves me wrong this season.

    From an athletic and skills perspective, if Nolan ever truly transitions to a 3-4 defense, either Smith or Gregory have the potential to fill the Lawrence Taylor role. I’m not saying they’ll become LT, so let’s not even go there everybody!

  2. *** Corrected (because we can’t edit/delete our posts) ***

    I think it’s possible Brian, the only thing I haven’t seen from him is a true gift as a pass rusher. To my eyes, so far he hasn’t shown the ability to disengage from a block as a pass rusher. His speed allows him to be a good delayed-blitzed who can shoot gaps quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to being a great pass rusher. How he proves me wrong this season.

    From an athletic and skills perspective, if Nolan ever truly transitions to a 3-4 defense, either Smith or Gregory have the potential to fill the Lawrence Taylor role. I’m not saying they’ll become LT, so let’s not even go there everybody!

  3. I thought he regressed a bit last season, though his stats may not show it. He just seemed slower to react and get to the ball then the previous yr but he still had a good season. I think the position change (a smart move) and improved D line will be what gets him to the next level.
    Also agree that he doesn’t appear to be a natural pass rusher, though l think he can and probably will have some success there due to his athletic ability and burst. However, his coverage skills are not his strong suit and he can be exploited if u leave him out in space too much. Think he does most of his damage at or near the line of scrimmage.

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